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Pakistan-India Parliamentarians, Journalists and Experts Conference on Confidence-building and Conflict-resolution, Islamabad, Pakistan

An Indian delegation consisting of parliamentarians, media personnel and experts, met in Islamabad, Pakistan, on August 10 and 11, 2003, under the aegis of the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA). After a meeting with the Pakistani delegation, a statement entitled 'Sense of the Pakistan-India Parliamentarians, Journalists and Experts Conference on Confidence-building and Conflict-resolution' was issued. Following is the full text of the statement.

Parliamentarians from most parties of the two parliaments, political leaders, media persons and experts from Pakistan and India met at Islamabad on August 10 and 11, 2003, at the invitation of the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA). After deliberating on the urgency of understanding between the two countries, on confidence building measures and conflict resolution efforts, the participants have reached a broad understanding on the following lines:

  • While the recent initiatives by the governments of India and Pakistan towards normalisation of relation are welcome, it is necessary to expedite the process of dialogue at the levels of states and people and approach all requisites of confidence-building, conflict management and conflict resolution through an integrated, uninterruptible, result-oriented and a well structured process.
  • Inspired by the realisation among people on both sides of the divide for burying the hatchet and resolving our differences through peaceful means, the participants have agreed to pursue a holistic vision that does not ignore any divisive issue.
  • Conscious of the demands of realism and in consideration of the two sides, the participants have taken note of the issues that have fuelled confrontation between India and Pakistan such as Pakistan's keenness for an early settlement of the Kashmir issue and India's concerns about cross-border terrorism.
  • They are convinced that while these issues need to be addressed on priority basis, no purpose will be served by ignoring possibilities of cooperation in various fields.
  • This would create the goodwill and confidence necessary for the resolution of conflicts and issues that impede progress in other mutually beneficial areas.
  • The participants agree on the need for creating maximum space for people of the two countries to recognise and respect each other and strive jointly for guaranteeing a better future for the coming generations.
  • All unreasonable restrictions on travel between the two countries must be expeditiously dismantled.
  • The participants, in addition to encouraging the two governments to stay on the normalisation course, are convinced that political parties should give priority to mobilising their ranks for peace and good-neighbourly relations and allowing greater space for all society organisations to support this process.
  • The participants agreed that the establishment of peace in the sub-continent could not be viewed separately from the aspirations of the people for a genuinely democratic dispensation, gender equality, the right of the under-privileged and the minorities and their empowerment.

Source: Times of India, August 12, 2003.





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